I'm not happy with my real estate agent. What can I do?

Melissa Sprouse Browne, Real Estate School of South Carolina
Melissa Sprouse Browne, Real Estate School of South Carolina

By Melissa Sprouse Browne, Real Estate School of South Carolina

Everyone hopes for a positive relationship with his or her real estate agent. Unfortunately, there are times when differences arise that are cause for concern.

First, try to resolve your issue with your agent on a personal level. It is in the best interest of the real estate agent to maintain happy clients, so any problem you may have should be brought to your agent's immediate attention.

If you feel that you are not receiving enough attention or that your property is not marketed properly, an honest discussion with your agent could solve your problem. As all real estate salesmen are required to work under a Broker In Charge, you should consider speaking with the Broker In Charge of your agent's office if the issue has not been handled properly by your agent.

Most challenges that arise in a real estate transaction are relatively minor. However, should you feel that your agent has violated the law there are steps you can take to seek legal action.

South Carolina Real Estate License Law exists to both regulate the practices of the real estate industry and to protect the public. All education courses that agents take for educational credit must show how the course content will help the agent to protect the public.

A complaint against a real estate licensee may be made to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission on the official complaint form, which may be found at http://www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/RealEstateCommission/index.asp?file=complaint.htm.

"The complaining party is responsible to ensure that all the necessary information is included on the form and the completed form should be mailed to the Office of Investigations and Enforcement at PO Box 11329, Columbia South Carolina 29211-1329," according to the website of the South Carolina Real Estate Commission.

Once the SC Real Estate Commission receives the complaint, an investigation is held to determine whether or not a license law violation has been made. After the investigation is complete, a report is presented that could recommend dismissal of the complaint, offer a consent agreement, or request that a hearing be held before the SC Real Estate Commission members.

The SC Real Estate Commission can take disciplinary action against a licensed agent only if there has been a violation of South Carolina Real Estate License Law.

The Commission will not assist with the following types of complaints:

  1. Contract matters, such as questions about listing agreements, management agreements, sales contracts and leases for which you need to contact an attorney.
  2. Earnest money or security deposit disputes that must be heard by a magistrate.
  3. Disputes over payment for services either by or to a licensee.
  4. Disputes with your landlord about property condition, past due rent, eviction notices and the like.
  5. Complaints that do not involve a licensed real estate agent.
  6. Complaints about managers of homeowners associations.
  7. Complaints relating to licensee's ethical behavior or poor business manners.
    (Source: SC Real Estate Commission website)